Tag Archives: Lyla Johnston

$ex Machine

by Lyla June Johnston, ’12

I wrote this poem on an airplane a few years ago. It’s been sitting in my notebook for a long time. I took it out the other day and decided I wanted to make a hip-hop track of it. I wanted to reclaim hip-hop as the healing force it was born to be by making it flashy, sexy and truthful. It’s main message is that we are not the sex slaves that pop music tells us we are, we are human beings that deserve love and respect.

How it developed was pretty interesting. I found the beat to go beneath it from the creative commons search on soundcloud.com. It was produced by a man in Sweden whom I’ve never met who goes by the name of “Dr. Mess.” I asked him if I could overlay some lyrics on it and he was fine with it. This is the beauty of making art for the people, not for the profit, under creative commons license as Dr. Mess does. The greed and fear that comes with copyrighting is relinquished and so we can collaborate more freely, even from across the ocean. Continue reading

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Revolutionary Art: “Call Me Human”

by Lyla Johnston, ’12

Listen to her poem here:

“Call Me Human”

from birth we etch these lines
engrave them in your mind
by the rockets red glare
the bombs bursting mid air
the war it begins
to make the imaginary country
as real as your skin.

America does not exist
It’s an idea men have obsessed over since 1776.

an excuse we use to manifest a reality that
destroyed the destiny of Native civilization. Continue reading

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Revolutionary Art: “Wake Up Time”

by Lyla Johnston, ’12

This is a poetic translation of the Dine (Navajo) word, “Hozho.” There is no direct translation into English, but perhaps a close one would be: ‘attaining harmony with the exquisite song of the earth.’ My tribe, the Dine (Navajo) Nation, holds within its language certain conceptual keys and solutions for the activist’s dilemma. Through Bikeh Hozho (The Beauty Way) the Dine people lived and thrived for thousands of years without jails, judges, or social hierarchies. It is through the appreciation of the divine design of creation that we found peace within our communities. As an anthropology major I have found that, through the study of indigenous culture, we can uncover social tools and cultural mechanisms that have already been invented and perfected over thousands of years of evolution that foster the exchange of unconditional love. With the translation of a single word from Dine Bizaad (The Navajo Language) I hope to show how the Dine people can offer us ways of being healthy and happy activists. Continue reading

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REVOLUTIONARY ART: “In Her Arms”

by Lyla Johnston, ’12

“In Her Arms” is a story of following your heart like a compass. Of a woman falling fearlessly in love with another woman when the whole world tells her it’s wrong. It is a song about loving each cell in your body deeply regardless of your sexual orientation and remembering that our hearts do not lie but guide us to the truth of who we are.

I think it’s important to make the revolution as beautiful as possible. Art will play a prominent role in the liberation of the human spirit. It is a tangible ambassador of our internal beauty, a representation of the light we hold inside. Embed your message within an irresistible melody and you will immediately disarm the population. They will remember the exquisite joy they were born for, that we are all on the same side. The true and permanent revolution will not be hard. It will be as easy as choosing love and beauty over pain and hopelessness. Continue reading
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